RamTalk

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Apr 302007
 
Authors:

To whom it my concern: You get 10 free POGS from Nobel Collectibles for each plus on your report card, and 5 for a check plus. Those receiving “tepees” will be rewarded zero POGS.

I wish John Mayer would have shown up for the song “Go” with Common. And did I miss the memo about Air Jordan chains being the new fad?

Does anyone else get the urge to clothesline longboarders in the dismount zone?

Dear CSU Parking Police: What if I don’t have windshield wipers. Then what? Do you carry tape?

Some people are condemning toward smokers, druggies, hippies, etc. I understand that our society looks down upon certain habits people choose to acquire, but we are not leprous. If a person chooses to be a “smoke-loving hippie,” let them. People are going to be who they want to be and do what makes them happy, despite what others think of them. Do you consider yourself flawless?

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Our View: Affirmative action is just

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Apr 302007
 
Authors:

Imagine walking into a room full of purple gorillas. Pretty scary, huh?

Now, imagine going to a job interview, surrounded by purple gorilla bosses. You look to your left, then your right, only to see all the other applicants are snazzy-dressed purple gorillas, donning briefcases and purses.

You might begin to feel a bit outnumbered, maybe even underrepresented.

You, not being a purple gorilla in a predominantly purple gorilla community, likely worked very hard to get where you are, if not harder than some of the privileged purple gorillas.

It’s not easy being human in a purple gorilla society.

Let’s assume this business – say, an institution of higher education – claims to value the input of a diverse background of species, even those who aren’t purple gorillas.

That’s reassuring to the non-purple gorilla applicant. But it’s not enough.

Odds are a purple gorilla, given all the advantages of being a purple gorilla, will snag the job – unless somebody does something about it.

There’s the clincher. These purple gorillas admit that humans are disadvantaged when it comes to employment, but they don’t want to give any special treatment. They don’t want to take affirmative action.

You, being a resilient human, don’t want any handouts either. You want to earn what you get.

The fact remains, though, that you are facing a disadvantage. Perhaps, it’s not a handout. Maybe your potential employer is taking affirmative action to counter the hundreds of years of oppression humans have faced in a purple gorilla society.

Unfortunately, we here at the Collegian aren’t aware of any purple gorillas. We’re forced to think of this scenario with respect to race, social class and privilege. And it’s a real concern.

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I Was Right

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Nick Hemenway

There are times, on rare occasion, that it is not good to be right, and that time is now. Earlier this semester in the piece “Turning Their Backs” I spoke about how the Democrats have passed the point of no return in their anti-war political rhetoric, and are in fact invested in defeat. Unfortunately for us, and especially our troops, I hit the nail on the head.

In order to make his party’s stance clear to the country, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said on Capitol Hill April 19 “this war is lost” (AP).

He should send that in the form of a letter to every one of our troops in Iraq. Our military has not retreated. They have not surrendered. The United States is committed to a free and stable Iraq, no matter what Harry Reid says.

Just as a point of interest, the U.S. Constitution defines treason in Article III Section III as providing aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war. Maybe it’s just me, but I bet our enemies take comfort in one of our most powerful politicians declaring their victory.

As if that wasn’t enough, Reid continued to dig a hole for himself in another statement to the press on Capitol Hill. Backpedaling faster than Champ Bailey, he proclaimed that “By ordering his troop surge, [the President] ignored the advice of the Iraq Study Group” (whitehouse.gov). Wrong again I am afraid.

Reading from the Iraq Study Group Report, “We could, however, support a short-term redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission, if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective.” Ironically, this is exactly what Bush has put into action, as suggested by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus.

One step further, the co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, James Baker, said earlier this month that “setting a deadline for withdrawal regardless of conditions in Iraq makes even less sense today because there is evidence that the temporary surge is reducing the level of violence in Baghdad. As Baghdad goes, so goes Iraq” (Washington Post).

For weeks now, Harry Reid and the Democrats have been withholding funding from our troops, by placing artificial timelines in the supplemental funding bill. When Bush finally gets the chance to veto this bill, it is imperative that congress quickly passes a new clean bill, so that our troops will have the equipment they need.

This past Saturday, it was reported that if the desperately-needed money does not get to the troops soon, some of the new armored vehicles they ordered on the suggestion of congress may not get to them in time (AP).

It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Democrats must put aside the politics or risk putting our soldiers in additional danger.

On a final note, this is most likely my last column for the semester. I want to thank all of you for reading. Hopefully you have learned something from my crazy ramblings throughout the school year. I have been greatly encouraged by the debates that have resulted, whether they were in print, through the Web site, or in person.

But have no fear, this is not the last time you will hear from me. Just like many of my fellow Mechanical Engineers, I am squeezing four years of education into five school years. Therefore, I have the distinct honor of continuing with the Collegian as I make my victory lap around CSU next year.

Until then, enjoy your summer.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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The Virtue of Selfishness

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Daniel GibsonReinemer

Want to change the world? Consider the words of Gordon Gekko, who famously stated, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

The corrupt stockbroker in the Oliver Stone movie “Wall Street” has a point relevant to anyone interested in tackling huge problems like poverty and global warming.

Stone’s film was a morality tale about the dangers of selling your soul to get rich quick. Though Gekko and his young prot/g/ make a small fortune, they ultimately suffer the consequences of their unscrupulous means.

So I don’t suggest you follow in their footsteps, but I do suggest you be greedy.

Sort of.

As Gekko himself stated, he needed a better word than greed. My suggestion for a better word is the phrase “somewhat selfish.”

Pure greed revolves around reaping the greatest benefits and sweeping all other considerations aside. Being somewhat selfish involves concern for a healthy profit, but letting those other considerations serve as a guide.

Consider college students who have spent the last four years expanding their knowledge of the world, eager to emerge from academia to confront the big problems facing humanity. For most of us, an altruistic spirit only goes so far. Facing student loan payments, health insurance, and other such worries, the desire for a stable income and security can override earlier dreams of saving the world.

Those who remain undaunted by such obstacles can become tremendous forces for change. But there’s hope for the rest of us as well.

If we allow ourselves to be somewhat selfish, we can look after concerns like a decent income and health insurance without forsaking our values.

When it comes to reducing our environmental impact, we need not become Amish to reduce our carbon footprint. Compact fluorescent light bulbs require less energy to light our homes, which means less coal is burned. These bulbs cost more than traditional ones, but are cheaper for consumers in the long run because they reduce household electric bills.

Similarly, increasing the fuel efficiency of our vehicles can be more economical and an investment in American competitiveness. Hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars can save consumers money at the pump while reducing the flow of oil money to hostile regimes. Further, it creates a market for the technology.

The Henry Ford of the twenty-first century will be the person (or corporation) able to offer a car cheap enough to be affordable to more than a billion consumers and efficient enough to make today’s Honda Civic seem like a gas-guzzler. Creating a market for that kind of product in America increases the likelihood of an American company rising to the occasion – which, in turn, would make money for many American workers and stockholders.

The benefits of being somewhat selfish go beyond our borders. In the emerging field of microfinance, people can make an investment in helping others climb out of poverty.

Nearly all recent graduates can afford to support businesses in poor areas through Web sites like kiva.org.

Kiva allows people to make loans to entrepreneurs abroad, providing information about the person and their business. Using a credit card, students or recent graduates can lend as little as $25. The money then goes to individuals who repay the loan at reasonable interest rates.

As a result, clients have been able to start businesses without the burden of usurious interest rates charged by the only lenders traditionally available. Quite obviously, businesses and the families behind them can succeed much more easily when they can grow while paying a fair price on their loans.

To be fair, lending money through kiva.org will produce no return on the investment – just the original amount of the loan. Kiva’s Web site states a repayment rate of 100 percent, so while there is no profit, there is also a very small risk of losing the money.

Big problems require solutions involving many people, but do not necessarily require those people to be intensively involved. Small changes in our purchases and a willingness to sequester a few dollars can yield enormous changes at a global scale.

So if you want to save the world, start small. You might save a buck at the same time.

Daniel Gibson-Reinemer is a fishery and wildlife biology masters student. He wishes to acknowledge Nicholas D. Kristof and Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times for their reporting that inspired this column. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Penley awards Distinguished Professors

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Anica Wong

Four professors were honored and bestowed the title of University Distinguished Professor on Thursday by President Larry Penley. This award is the highest recognition awarded for outstanding accomplishments in research and scholarship, according to a statement from the university.

“One of the major components of the value of a college degree is the reputation of the university you receive it from,” provost and senior Vice President Tony Frank said. “These people dramatically increase the reputation of CSU, simultaneously increasing the value of every CSU student’s degree.”

The four professors awarded are Karolin Luger, a biochemistry professor, Jan Leach, professor of plant pathology, John Sofos, animal sciences professor and Jorge Rocca, a professor of electrical engineering and physics.

“This is a really great honor,” Luger said. “It is a great incentive to work harder.”

Luger is doing research on the genome, or the blueprint of life, and how it fits into a cell. The ‘blueprint’ is physically large, but is fit in a very small cell.

“It is a profound physical packaging problem,” she said.

Luger teaches introduction to molecular genetics in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and has received several prestigious grants to fund her work.

According to a press release, Leach is a microbiologist and plant pathologist who studies how plants defend themselves against pathogens.

She is a member of several prestigious science organizations and has spoken at various scientific meetings all over the world.

Sofos’ research deals with the safety of food, especially meat products and bacteria pathogens. According to Sofos, these pathogens can create major problems.

“They can cause abortions in pregnant women and other problems in the elderly,” said Sofos.

This research is particularly exciting to Sofos because of the attention it receives.

“There is interest and support by the public, the industry and the government,” Sofos said.

Sofos also enjoys teaching because he is training students who will continue to deal with issues of public health.

Rocca is researching the development of compact X-ray lasers and their many applications, according to a university press release.

He is the directory of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology. This organization is based at CSU but is a partnership with the University of Colorado and the University of California, Berkeley.

One of the major projects that Rocca and his counterparts have been working on is the creation of the world’s highest spatial resolution extreme ultraviolet tabletop microscope. This amazing device can see objects that are 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

Only 1% of the faculty are Distinguished Professors, according to Frank.

Existing University Distinguished Professors select professors that they believe deserve the prestigious award. Nominations are evaluated and then the nominations are recommended to the President of the university, who then confirms the recipients.

“(The award) is the university saying how much we value and appreciate these professors,” Frank said.

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Gunman kills man, then self at local business

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Emily Polak

An unidentified gunman opened fire at about 4 p.m. Monday in a storage facility near the 2600 block of East Mulberry in unincorporated Larimer County, killing one man and then himself, according to officials.

The gun and the gunman’s body were found more than five hours after law enforcement blocked off the business complex.

“There has been some ongoing conflict between the men who own the neighboring units (in the storage facility),” Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told CBS-4.

Before finding the suspect’s body, officers patrolled a nearby neighborhood looking for the assailant. A manhunt was launched, but was stopped after deputies found the second body.

Investigators have not identified a motive for the shootings.

Eloise Campanella, a spokeswoman with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department, said the male victim died of multiple gunshot wounds. The victim’s name has not yet been released. An autopsy report is expected to be complete today.

“We’re in the very early stages of a homicide investigation,” Alderden said. “There are a number of conflicting reports about this incident.”

Officers at the crime scene heard several variations of the same story, he said, including one report that the suspect used a nail gun in the shooting. The nail gun theory has been ruled out, as officers have confirmed that the assailant used a handgun, possibly a Tech-9.

“I can safely say it’s not a nail gun,” Alderden said.

More than two-dozen Sheriff’s Department vehicles, SWAT vehicles and other emergency vehicles, including a van labeled “Hostage Crisis Negotiation Team,” blocked the storage facility and the abutting strip mall.

Officers were also patrolling a nearby neighborhood.

The coroner and deputies were on standby for several hours, waiting for a search warrant, before removing the victim’s body and finding the suspect’s body.

The motive for the shooting is still unknown. And details about the victim and the suspect have not been released.

“At this point in the investigation, we’re trying to identify witnesses,” the sheriff said.

Sonja Jensen, coordinator of CSU Greek Life, issued an e-mail warning to campus Greeks Monday evening.

“While this isn’t too close to campus, you can never be too safe,” the warning said. “Please make sure you’re making safe decisions tonight.”

Residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the business voiced concern about the shooter being on the loose.

“It is shocking, and I feel so bad for the family,” said Mike Boddy who lives in the neighborhood behind the business complex. “We are going to lock our doors tonight; that’s for sure.”

The City of Fort Collins, commonly called “the choice city,” reports only having seven murders /- now eight – since 1999, according to the city’s Web site.

Associate news managing editor J. David McSwane contributed to this report.

Senior reporter Emily Polak can be reached at news@collegian.com.

__________________________________

Anyone with information about the shooting should call the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department at 970-498-5100.

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Why do clouds make rain?

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Nikki Cristello

CloudSat, a super-sensitive satellite that profiles clouds, celebrated its first anniversary Saturday and is helping scientists answer that question.

The journey to this point hasn’t exactly been Cloud 9 material, though.

CSU atmospheric science professor and scientist Graeme Stephens has been working on CloudSat since 1993.

“CloudSat is a giant leap,” Stephens said. “It is really unique and most satisfying to see what’s truly new in providing observations of the atmospheric world. We have been thirsting for it because of the uniqueness of it. Discovery is the unique aspect.”

Deborah Vane, CloudSat project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has worked with Stephens since 1993. JPL is a NASA center staffed and managed for the government by Caltech. It is a federally funded research and development center.

The project was advocated for but was not accepted by NASA until the second proposal. That was in 1998. It has cost about $170 million dollars in the past seven years.

JPL is funding CIRA to do data processing with NASA funds. It’s a complicated arrangement, but for the folks working on CloudSat, it is totally worth it.

CloudSat is a satellite that carries unique radar to observe cloud precipitation to understand the cycle of water from earth to sky and back down again.

Clouds are important to study and understand because water strongly affects climate change and global warming.

This ultra-sensitive satellite has been quite successful in its first year. It allows scientists to see particles in clouds and in rain, because Stephens said we still don’t understand the conversion of clouds to water.

CloudSat is sending data to countries all over the world. This satellite is different because rather than see where it is raining as it is raining, it is helping scientists try to see where it will rain before people get wet.

The launch happened April 28, 2006, but was hard to see due to the clouds. The irony was not lost on any of those in California for the launch.

“It was really exciting, but a little disappointing,” Vane said. The fog was so bad we just saw a small light and then a minute later the roar (of it breaking the sound barrier).”

Don Reinke manages the CloudSat data processing center in the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere here at CSU. CIRA, which is attached to the College of Engineering, is responsible for operating the data from CloudSat.

The information CloudSat produces includes maps of clouds, types of clouds, whether the cloud is made of ice or water and shows the amount of radiation, or heat energy, going from the clouds to the ground and from clouds to space.

The most rewarding aspect of the past year was “the fact that this is an experimental mission and been this successful,” Reinke said. “It’s the first time this type of instrument has been flown in space. The fact it has been flying for over a year in space is quite rewarding.”

Vane travels to CSU about once a month and said it is gratifying knowing the scientific community is excited about – and is using – the data CloudSat produces.

“The data processing center at CSU is a real jewel,” Vane said. “The university should be very, very proud of the center.”

Staff writer Nikki Cristello can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU’s title turns 50

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: James Holt

Fifty years ago today, this university was coined “Colorado State University.” In honor of this occasion, the Collegian takes a look back on the school’s evolution from a tiny agricultural college with only five students to a state university, boasting more than 25,000 students.

“Regardless of what this place has been called, the core concept of the place has been the same since the day it was founded,” said Thomas Field, professor of animal sciences and president of the Alumni Association. “And that is access to higher education regardless of your station coupled with the application of knowledge to the real problems faced by society.”

Colorado Gov. Edward McCook signed a territorial bill in 1870, authorizing the creation of an agricultural college in Fort Collins. McCook’s authorization built on a piece of federal legislation called the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, which provided grants of public land to establish colleges.

In September 1879, President Elijah Edwards welcomed the first five students of Colorado Agricultural College, the percursor to what would eventually become CSU. The first offered courses were arithmetic, English, U.S. history, natural philosophy, horticulture and farm economy.

Since that time it has been the school’s mission “to serve society through teaching, research and outreach,” according to the CSU Web site.

Only 12 years later, in 1891, The Rocky Mountain Collegian was established to serve as a news source for students and the community, create a platform for discourse and provide skill development opportunity for staff.

The school grew, and after a 1935 student petition, the governing-board changed the school’s name to Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, or Colorado A&M.

During World War II, about one-third of the school’s teaching and research staff deployed to serve the war effort. Colorado A&M President Roy Green brought military training programs to campus in an effort to retain students and faculty.

In the ’50s Coloraod A&M President Bill Morgan began a campaign to have the school’s name changed again, contending that students should receive their degrees from a university rather than from “a school with a name connoting a narrow technical college.”

The Colorado General Assembly approved the name Colorado State University on May 1, 1957.

Through the years, CSU has withstood its share of on-campus disasters.

As part of a student strike, peace activists held a war moratorium concert on May 7, 1970, in the College Avenue gymnasium to protest the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and the student deaths at Kent State University.

During the concert, arsonists set fire to the Old Main building /- CSU’s oldest building /- and completely destroyed the 92-year-old landmark.

On July 28, 1997, a flood took the lives of five Fort Collins residents and damaged much of the school. The flood damaged half of the books in Morgan Library and sent four feet of water through the student center.

Through it all, CSU has continued to grow as an institution, incorporating new fields of study and expanding to accommodate the needs of a growing academic community.

“It’s important that we remember what the school used to be,” said Jon Floyd, a freshman marketing major. “It shows how we’ve progressed.”

Staff writer James Holt can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Timeline:

– 1862: U.S. President Lincoln signs Morrill Act providing land grants for colleges.

– Feb. 11, 1870: Gov. Edward McCook signs bill for the creation of the Colorado Agricultural College.

– 1876: Colorado becomes a state.

– July 27, 1878: Old Main building cornerstone set.

– Sept. 1, 1879: Colorado Agricultural College opens with five students.

– Fall 1883: President Ingersoll oversees the opening of a mechanic shop – signs of engineering instruction.

– 1891: The Rocky Mountain Collegian is established.

– 1935: CAC becomes the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (Colorado A&M) due to a student petition.

– May 1, 1957: Colorado A&M becomes Colorado State University.

– May 7, 1970: Old Main is burnt down during student war protests.

– July 28, 1997: The Thompson flood damages a majority of Morgan Library and part of the Lory Student Center.

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Affirmative action ban looms over CSU

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Jessi Stafford

Colorado is one of four states currently targeted to ban affirmative action as Ward Connerly, who initiated the push to end affirmative action in California in 1997, promotes the end of minority preferences in the areas of employment, education and business.

Connerly is also looking at Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The possibility of the ban passing could change the way CSU implements the hiring and admissions process.

The fact is, though, it may be too soon to tell.

“It’s really difficult to speculate the potential impact,” CSU Diversity & Equal Opportunity Director Dana Hiatt said. “There can be a real difference between what it actually says on the ballot and what the group proposes.”

Currently, CSU does have an affirmative action plan, as federal law requires, but it does not include preferential affirmative action, Hiatt said.

Preferential affirmative action would make the university meet a specific number, or percentage, of minorities in the student and staff population, even if the individuals don’t necessarily meet all of the university’s expectations.

“Our affirmative action plan is not a preferential plan,” Hiatt said. “Our plan identifies barriers and works to eliminate the barriers.”

The fact that CSU doesn’t practice preferential treatment makes the consequences of the possible ban difficult to predict. However, those who have worked hard to increase diversity in states that have already implemented a ban have experienced increased difficulty in achieving their goals, Hiatt said.

“It’s very important to watch and see what is happening and what actually ends up on the ballot, if anything, and compare it with other states” she said. “Then, look at what is on the ballot and what that means for the university.”

Colorado is one of the 25 states where a change in the constitution is less complicated to implement than others because it permits citizen petitions, according to CSU political science professor John Straayer.

“They are targeting Colorado because it’s easy,” Straayer said.

So easy in fact, that Connerly only has to collect signatures from 5 percent of the population who voted in the last Colorado election, which is a comparatively low amount of signatures required, Straayer said.

“It’s too easy for individual interest groups to tinker with our constitution,” he said. “There is a widespread feeling in the state that the number needs to raise.”

News editor Jessi Stafford can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Rhino expert tells of Zooloo adventure

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Apr 302007
 
Authors: Emily Polak

If a Rhino were running loose in Fort Collins, Fort Collins Police Services probably doesn’t have a plan to capture the beast.

Geoffrey Wahungu, of Kenya, might have an idea.

Wahungu spoke to CSU students Monday about conservation efforts in Africa and told students of Africa’s volunteer force called “The Rhino Patrol,” a group charged with recovering those that escape the Sweetwater Black Rhino Reserve in Kenya, located near the equator.

“It’s a very interesting activity,” he said of rounding up Rhinos that haven’t been seen for five days or more.

Wahungu is a professor in the department of Wildlife Management at Moi University in Kenya and works at the reserve, which is working to increase the black rhino population by five percent each year to reach 1,000 new rhinos by 2020.

“Species diversity isn’t about Africa, it isn’t about the US, it is about the world,” Wahungu said.

In the past 30 years, the global rhino population has gone from more than 20,000 to less than 3,000, and the animals are located in only four countries around the world.

“Most people want to see them (rhinos) exist,” said Kenneth Wilson, professor and interim department head of the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.

Many of the rhinos in the world live on sanctuaries like Sweetwater and are gradually released into the wild. By living on a sanctuary, the animals can be protected, studied and kept track of, Wahungu said.

Wahungu presented research that showed elephants and rhinos are avoiding each other and that elephants are damaging foliage that acts as a food source for rhinos. The sanctuary has seen a 20 percent loss in trees between 1998 and 2005.

“Conservation management approaches are biologically, socially, economically and politically sustainable,” Wahungu said. “We want to bear in mind that there are other animals and people outside the fences.”

Local leadership and involvement are important in wildlife conservation, Wilson said.

“Their (African’s) science and understanding is improving, and natives are getting involved,” Wilson said. “We have much more funding, but we still struggle with conservation.”

Sweetwater has worked with more than 300 volunteers who are trained to observe the rhinos and report findings about their behavior.

“It is pretty amazing what they have been able to do, and I think we can learn a lot,” said Jen Garner, a wildlife conservation major.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at CSU sponsored Wahungu’s presentation. And some students who attended said they were very interested in his efforts to conserve the rare species.

“It is impossible to stress how important conservation is,” Garner said. “There are a massive amount of animals there (in Africa), and I’d love to be able to work with them.”

Kenneth Wilson, professor and interim department head, said students in the department are passionate about working with conservation groups.

“Our students are very, very active and have a real passion for trying to figure out ways that humans and wildlife can survive together,” Wilson said.

Staff writer Emily Polak can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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